Health Care Reform

by Deborah Z Mark

.

red cross

This blog originally posted July 5, 2012

Health care reform: are you sick of it?

This much we know: on June 28, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 2010 health care reform law is constitutional.  Chief Justice John Roberts stated that “The Affordable Care’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax.  Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”

2014

Beginning in 2014, virtually all Americans will be required to purchase health insurance coverage or pay a penalty (or tax), according to the individual mandate.  Those opposed to the mandate argued that it was a violation of the commerce clause (which gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce), and was therefore unconstitutional.

Under the health care law, aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (passed in March 2010), employers with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance or pay a fine of $2,000 per employee per year if any employee receives federal subsidies to purchase health insurance on a state exchange.

Employers with 25 or fewer employees with average annual wages below $50,000 will be eligible for the small business tax credit (currently 35%), which will offset the cost of insurance premiums.  When the law goes fully into effect in 2014, the tax offset will rise to 50%.

What is a State Exchange?

You are probably wondering (I know I was), “What exactly is a state exchange, anyway?”  If everything goes as planned (that usually happens, right?) each state will set up a Health Insurance Exchange (federal funding will be provided) where competition will be created in order to lower overall health insurance premiums.  People will be able to shop for the insurance they need, providing they meet certain requirements.  Premiums for health insurance bought through Exchanges will vary by age.

New Employer Requirements

In the next few months, employers will need to prepare to comply with new requirements such as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) trust-fund taxes, the uniform summary of benefits and coverage (SBC), W-2 reporting, and the $2,500 cap on health flexible spending accounts (FSAs).  managestaff is your partner in health care reform compliance, and will help keep you informed of the new requirements.

For additional interesting info, log on to: http://healthreform.kff.org/subsidycalculator.aspx. *

Upcoming Vote

On July 11, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on legislation to repeal the health care reform law.

If the House repeals the Act, it would be the second time.  Last year, the House approved a repeal measure introduced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia).

The Senate did not take up the repeal bill and since Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, it is not likely that it would do so this time.

At this point, all we know is that the health care reform law is a sure thing.

Maybe.

*information on this link is not verified or endorsed by managestaff, but this blogger personally found it all very fascinating.

Image: Salvatore Vuono/freedigitalphotos.net